The Picture of Dorian Gray; Oscar Wilde
This book is probably my all time FAVOURITE book in the entire world.
Usually my favourite book flitters between the most recent book I’ve read and the book whose plot I actually remember at the time. But this book has surpassed superficial “favouritism”, this book changed everything I had ever previously thought about literature.
If you haven’t read this I IMPLORE you to grab a cheap $12 version of this or an illegally downloaded online version and read to your hearts desire.
One sentence synopsis:
Very quickly its about an aristocrat who gets a painting from his friend and wishes his face would always look forever young, and while his wish comes true he discovers that the painting instead reveals the corruption of his soul and becomes a mirror to his soul.
Honestly the blurb of the book is accurate in trying to portray this book in the most boring way known possible. When I first read the blurb I honestly asked myself why I was even picking this up and whether my friends recommendation was really worth the money.
Oh boy oh boy was I wrong… from the first few lines I was absolutely HOOKED! This book indulged in themes that challenged the way I had ever thought about the world itself. It explored themes of magic realism, beauty and wealth overpassing the meritocracy of society, the leading of a double life, the blurring of distinctions of high and low, the consequences of sin, the understanding of ones conscience… theres so many facets to this beautiful goddamn piece of ART. Using one character and his plight, as he gains the ability to stay forever young yet sacrifices the corruption of his soul, this book literally has a readable appendix.
Let me say that again: I read the appendix. I read the notes. I read the GLOSSARY EVEN. THATS HOW GOOD IT WAS.
In fact, the rather long introduction was a very useful tool to understanding the hidden themes and motifs that Wilde wanted to to make apparent within his novel.
But as I say all this don’t get disheartened, its NOT A COMPLEX READ. Its relatively short and extremely easy to read. Its a classic that uses humour, wit and comic relief to bring a sense of lightheartedness to the novel. As much as I say that this book explores complex themes, it is easy to hide and is only found when searching for it. Other than that it is very easy and quick to read and understand!
It wasn’t just Dorian Gray who successfully filled the void in my bookshelf that I didn’t know I needed, but the characters Basil Hallward and Lord Henry in particular both brought so much depth to the novel. Theres always debate on who brought upon the evil, who was truely responsible for the consequences of Dorian Grays actions and were they all larger symbols to something greater?
I would love to hear what you think of these characters and their influences on Dorian Gray, and whether they were the reason he does what he does.
I could re-read this a thousand times and never be able to explain what this book is about but its is definitely a 5/5 and MUST READ to anyone wanting to expand their classics shelf!